Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Pirate 1-1 Project

The Hudson Community School District has decided the time is right to begin a transition to a 1-1 laptop environment for our high school students. Significant facility improvements over the past three years have paved the way. Improvements including upgraded electrical systems, a robust wireless network, and continued advances in hardware and software. Technologies such as these also include the ability to leverage cloud computing. 

That's all nice but with all that being said then, why should we do it?

“Students become pilots of their learning not just passengers along for the ride.” The Hudson 1:1 Project gives students the tools to have instant access to the world of information and also to become producers rather than just consumers of information that is available through the use of technology. The 'set and get' model of instruction is becoming obsolete. Days of classroom teachers being the arbiter and sole proprietor of knowledge no longer exist. Want to learn about the biology of skin cells? Look it up on the computer. How about Regression to the Mean and other complex statistics? Khan Academy has just what you are looking for. 

Our vision to amplify and enhance deep, rich learning will benefit student-centered classrooms in which critical thinking is the cornerstone of success. Through collaboration and cooperation with others, students will engage in experiential learning that is authentic, holistic, and challenging. Students are empowered to use prior knowledge to construct new learning. This is the flipped classroom of the 21st Century. Imagine a learning environment where the teacher invites students to learn what they can about a topic outside the classroom--and when they are in the classroom, the goal isn't to have the teacher lecture, but rather to coach those students into applying their new found knowledge.

The goal of the project is to provide each 9th-12th grade student in the district access to a computer daily, and more technology opportunities for all students. Our reach is no longer local, but global and by providing this opportunity to Hudson students it will have a real-world impact/value. Research suggests the 1:1 initiative “levels the playing field” for all students, regardless of any families’ economic situation. The use of technology in schools increases engagement in the learning process and allows teachers the opportunity to personalize instruction, especially in “technology-transformed” classes. 

Today's students are growing up in a world where the right answer simply won't be found on a multiple choice test. These young people will be expected to solve problems that we don't know are problems yet, collaborate and compete for work in a global marketplace, and attend college where the mere idea of taking notes with a pencil and notebook are as foreign to them as one room schoolhouses were to most of us. 

A critical component to ensuring the success of this project rests on the willingness of our faculty to engage in a new and exciting instructional mode, and to become willing participants in a fast pace and rigorous professional development program. Our roll out and professional development plan will consist of four days of training through the Apple Corporation. Two of these days will be held at the end of the school year, and the other two will be held at the beginning of next school year. In addition, we have scheduled a robust training program that is already underway, consisting of teachers visiting many districts in the area who have already moved to this type of learning environment. Our academic calendar for the 2013-2014 school year has been partially designed with this professional development model in mind. Teachers will learn the art of the flipped classroom and receive in depth training on a Learner Management System. The student roll out is scheduled for January of 2014.

Implementation Timeline

Sources include  Recommended Action to the Hudson Board of Education  on 
January 21, 2013 as prepared by Principal Jeff Dieken and information from Apple Computers.

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